Monday 18 January 2010

Jason's Bay, 1966

Here's some photos from a banyan at Jason's Bay which was quite near to where we lived at Johore Bahru. They were all taken in about 1966. The first one shows Debbie Sharpe, Ian Bagwell, Linda Bagwell and me (complete with water wings) on our lilo. I didn't like swimming then any more than I do now. My dad is pushing us along. I never did take to the water much! From this picture I can see that I'd recently lost my front teeth. In the background can be seen everyone's cars parked on the beach. I can't remember what the tin hut was used for.
The second photo shows my brother, Alan, blowing up an inflatable ring under a covered area that was put up to keep the sun off everyone. There was usually a huge parachute spread out that everybody would sit under when things got too hot. There's two things that I've never noticed about this photo before. One is that I'm on the right hand side playing in the sand and the other is that my dad is on the left hand side, on a sun bed, having a snooze!
The third photo shows Alan and me playing in a boat of sand that was made for us by mum and dad's friend, Les Sharpe. It has 'Jasons' written on the side in shells. I think that the flag was made out of a white hanky. I always preferred to be playing in the sand than to be in the sea which was littered with sea snakes, jellyfish and probably the odd shark. I don't remember anyone getting bitten by anything though. 
The fourth photo shows me and Ian and Linda Bagwell again on our lilo. We all lived close to each other at Johore. The Bagwell's dad, Tom, can be seen in the background. 
The next photo shows Alan walking along the above-ground roots of a banyan tree. This photo reminds me of all the walls, drain pipes and roofs that we used to balance on around our home at Jalan Wijaya. Alan was always climbing on our roof but once he was up there, he couldn't get down again until dad rescued him. I think I've written before about him falling off the drainpipe! 
The next two photos show Alan and a friend on a lilo and then them all playing on the beach. I don't remember who the other kids were but I seem to remember that, after being out in the sun all day, even with us being covered up most of the time, that we both got sunburnt! Looking at the photos, it all looks a lot of fun now!

Friday 15 January 2010

Tiger in Your Tank badges

I wrote earlier about the Tiger in Your Tank campaign and how we all used to make sure our dad's filled up in an Esso garage when we needed petrol.
The other day, I found my 'Put A Tiger in Your Tank' badges and I thought that I would post them here. These must date from about 1966 and would be from one of our visits to an Esso garage in Singapore at the time. It's amazing that they've lasted so long and I'm glad that I kept them for all of these years. There were similar badges brought out later when they had a campaign to 'Save the Tiger'.

Also posted here, is a photo of a Tiger Tail. At the time, these could be seen hanging from petrol caps and aerials everywhere. All the kids had them, I think I tied mine to my bike.
There were lots of other free gifts such as glasses, beakers, transfers, trays and plates but I think the favourite with all the kids that we knew had to be the Tiger Tails!

Tuesday 12 January 2010

Penang 1960s

I loved visiting Sandycroft in Penang for our holidays in the 1960s and we used to have a great time touring around the island.
Many servicemen and their families were stationed there and their lives were very similar to ours in Johore Bahru.
David Yap kindly sent me some photos from Penang in the 1960s recently and I hope to include them in this blog over the next few weeks.
The first photo shows two girls queuing for a cone from the ice cream man. Although, this is a different contraption from the one in my dad's cine films, there was one of these bike-type trolleys that toured the estate where we lived at Johore Bahru.

The second photo shows the Balloon Man. Now I've seen this photo, I'm reminded how there was a similar trolley bike that came around our estate and inflated balloons with helium, ideal for parties and Christmas. This street looks so much like ours did, that it could almost be the same place.
It's funny there seemed to be someone supplying every service that you needed at the time, all from the back of a bike!

The third photo shows the local fruit seller who appears to be selling oranges, bananas, melons, rambutans, durians and all the other fruits you got in the Far East at the time. From this picture, I can imagine that smell of fruit on the market stalls that were so common in Singapore at the time.
There are many more of David's photos and I hope to include them soon.

Monday 11 January 2010

Kota Tinggi Waterfalls 1966

All of these photos were taken at Kota Tinggi Waterfalls which was near our home at Johore Bahru. The waterfalls were a great tourist attraction and were located a few miles north-west of the village of Kota Tinggi at a place called Lombong. The water drained off a mountain called Gunung Muntahak to a series of shallow pools. There used to be lots of people swimming in them and it was a fond haunt of sericemen and their families as well as many of the locals. I've heard that today, it's a bit spoilt by development of nearby resorts which seems a shame. I suppose though, that most of the places we remember fondly when we were kids in Singapore and Malaya have now long gone and hotels, supermarkets, housing and leisure complexes have taken their place. The first photo shows my dad, complete with cine camera, my mum and me. I remember my dad filming but none of the footage seems to have survived. I think that I remember seeing it when it was originally shot and there were scenes of people bathing in the pools. The film probably got 

mangled in the temperamental cine projectors of the day and was probably, unfortunately, thrown away. The second photo shows my brother, Alan, with our Kodak Brownie 127 camera that my grandad had bought my parents a few years before we left. We must have had two cameras at the time though I don't remember the other one. In the background can be seen families paddling in the nearby pools. The third photo shows me with the waterfalls in the background. I don't look too happy in this photo but I can't remember why! Maybe it was because Alan had the camera and was taking all the pictures!

The last photo shows my dad, me and Alan. In the background is a local man, probably wondering what all the crazy foreigners will get up to next! He was probably selling drinks to all the visitors. I notice that we all have sandals on as well as socks. The socks were probably to keep the mozzies off our ankles, there would have certainly been plenty of them ready to bite near all that water!

Wednesday 6 January 2010

Concrete Nannies

This photo shows a 'concrete nanny' helping with building work in the 1960s. This photo was taken by David Papworth and features in my book, 'More Memories of Singapore and Malaya'.
A concrete nanny was a Chinese female manual worker who helped out on building sites to give their children, many who were adopted from poorer families, a better education. They usually wore red hats.
I mentioned earlier about Mr Lee's house which stood opposite us at Jalan Wijaya. When we first moved in, in 1965, the house was just being built and there were many concrete nannies, complete with red hats, working on the building site. My parents remember them being called 'cement amahs' at the time.
They were once a popular sight and there were even dolls made of them which were bought by tourists. Nowadays, they've long since disappeared from the streets and buildings of Singapore and Malaya.
I wonder how many other people remember them?

Saturday 2 January 2010

Injections and illnesses

This photo shows me with our neighbours, Judith and Carol Webster, sitting on their doorstep at 101 Jalan Wijaya in about 1966. I wonder if anyone else remembers all the injections that we had to have during our time there? I think they seemed worse for kids. I certainly remember having a few and I remember that your arm would ache for days after and you couldn't sleep comfortably on that side. I think we had injections before we went and then some during our stay there. I remember sitting in the waiting room and some of the kids were crying. Alan went in and kicked the doctor so hard that he limped for a week! I think one of the injections was BCG which stopped tuberculosis and there were other injections for, I think, polio, cholera and other diseases that they expected you to pick up in the Far East. I can always tell people who have had this injection because of the sliced-sausage like scar on their arm! For all these injections, I still had all the illnesses that most kids get including German measles, ordinary measles and mumps. All of these illnesses seem to hit you a lot worse when you're a kid than when you're an adult (I had German measles again when I was 29) and the doctor always prescribed pink penicillin which we kept in the fridge. You were given it for everything in those days and I got to quite like it in the end! Doctors don't ever seem to prescribe it nowadays. Apart from illnesses, I only ended up in hospital once when I fell when we first got there and I cracked my head on the front step. I still remember the huge x-ray machine coming down on top of me. I soon recovered and my only other accident was coming off my bike into the front gate! I know that lots of other people my age had similar scrapes and accidents including falling down the many monsoon drains. Luckily, most of us survived the ordeal and carried on looking for more dangerous things to climb such as banana trees, wall and water drains. It's surprising that we all survived the experience but it was a wonderful time and adventure always seemed to just be around the corner.

Friday 1 January 2010

Fun and Games

Here's a photo of me pretending to be an Indian sitting at the front of our house at Jalan Wijaya. With Christmas just over, it got me thinking about the toys and games that we had at the time. I've mentioned all the tin toys, cars, planes and robots before but there were also many board games. I think that nearly every house we went to had Monopoly and Mouse Trap. I remember Monopoly in particular because it seemed to go on forever. Another reason I remember it is because I recall my brother playing a game with someone else on the estate, I can't remember who, and the game just went on and on! In the end, in frustration, the other kid got the board and threw the whole lot up in the air! It went everywhere including down the storm drain. We never did find all the bits!
Someone recently mentioned to me how all the Naval wives would meet up for a Beetle Drive. Now, this is a game I haven't heard of for a long time but if you were in Singapore and Malaya in the 1960s, you've quite possibly played it because it was very popular at the time. Beetle Drive was a game where you added parts onto a plastic beetle but I can't quite remember the details of how it was played. A quick look around the internet shows that the game is still available though I suspect that most people nowadays wouldn't have a clue what it was.
We also played Scrabble and a lot of card games. Alan and me had our
own Green Hornet playing cards. I can't remember the games that we knew at the time but 'Snap!' was very popular.
When we weren't playing games, we were building dens, climbing trees, riding our bikes or doing a tightrope walk across the local drainpipe.To the computer generation, this probably all sounds mundane but we had great fun at the time and it seems like a lot of this fun of childhood has been lost over the years.